Australia to invest $1.4bn in Geelong-Melbourne fast railway project


The Australian government said that it will invest A$2bn ($1.4bn) in a fast rail project between Geelong and Melbourne, which will reduce the journey time on the 80km route in half to 32 minutes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the congestion-busting rail will be the first of its kind in Australia, where trains will travel at the fastest speeds of any train line in the nation at an average of 160kmph.

He said that the Liberal Nationals Government will take up several projects over the next 20 years as part of plans to lessen the pressure on big cities and support the growth of the regions and the Melbourne-Geelong fast rail will be the first to be delivered.

Under the 20-year fast rail plan, the government will also invest A$40m ($29m) for detailed assessments of five additional corridors, complementing the three currently underway that the federal government has funded, and other projects that state governments are funding.

The detailed assessments will determine the priorities for funding and construction.

The Prime Minister said that a National Fast Rail Agency will be established, which will guide the work, determine priorities based on the assessments, work with state governments, communities and the private sector, as well as provide finance solutions.

He said that the fast rail project is also expected to take pressure off the Princes Freeway and West Gate Bridge. More than 54,000 vehicles use the Princes Freeway every day.

Morrison said that the investment in congestion-busting infrastructure will give time back to commuters and enable more people to live in the regions and work in cities.

He said: “This is all part of our plan to manage population growth that I announced this week to take the pressure off our big cities like Melbourne and make our regional cities like Geelong even more attractive places to live and work.”

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, faster rail services will provide greater accessibility to regional Australia.

The funding includes supporting new business cases for fast rail between Brisbane and the Gold Coast; Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga; Melbourne and Traralgon; Sydney and Wollongong; and Sydney and Parkes.


Image: V/line services at Geelong Station, Victoria, Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Marcus Wong Wongm / Wikimedia Commons.

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